The following excerpt from Larry Steinmetz’s book, “Kansas Sense: Simple Business Wisdom from the Heartland,” illuminates practical and philosophical stories that easily resonate with leaders from all walks of life.
I have a pet peeve, which I call “speakerphone snooping.”
This is when someone in the room asks you to make a speakerphone call and not let the other party know that the “speakerphone snoopers” are actually in the room listening.
I have been asked to do this on more than one occasion. I have found that the best way to get out of this sticky situation is by honestly explaining that I do not believe this is appropriate conduct for me, and then I give the “speakerphone snooper” an out.
I tell them that I appreciate that they are very interested in what is to be said and as a result they probably hadn’t really given any thought to the possible negative ramifications. I give them an option of letting them be announced as being present for the call, or I offer to make the call on a handset, take notes and relay all pertinent details immediately following the conclusion of the call.
Almost always, the “speakerphone snooper” will understand. In fact, often they realize that they have not completely considered the inappropriate nature of doing this and quickly agree with your position.
If you want to build strong relationships based on trust, and you want to establish a reputation as someone who can be trusted (and you do), you cannot participate in “speakerphone snooping.”
Furthermore, what will others think of your level of trustworthiness if they see you doing this? I’ll tell you, they will think if you do it to someone else, then you won’t think twice about doing it to them.
And anytime you are on a speakerphone call, always assume that someone else is listening, unless, of course, you are talking with a trusted friend/co-worker who assures you there is no one else present. And also, when on a speakerphone call always inform the person on the other end when someone walks into your office during the call.
Behave as someone who can be trusted, and you will be trusted. That means no “snooping!”